Updated September 28, 2020: Sadly, YouTube removed the feature for people to contribute community captions.
In July 2018, I wrote about how my one tweet led to Troy Hunt’s YouTube HTTPS series getting translated into 16+ languages.
I kicked off getting the series captioned by asking Hunt to enable YouTube community contributions. Once he turned contributions on, I added English captions to the first two videos.
In less than a week, Hunt’s community stepped up and added translations for 16 languages for the four videos.
I checked his YouTube channel today; his series has now been captioned in 20 languages!
Before I told Hunt about them, he wasn’t aware YouTube had a community contributions feature.
Have to say I’m not surprised, it wasn’t unusual for YouTube video creators to not know.
What Were Community Contributions?
Community contributions were a crowdsourcing feature on YouTube, which allowed your community to add title, description, subtitles, and closed captions to your videos.
I’ve discovered over the years of captioning YouTube videos that YouTube didn’t promote community contributions.
As of September 28, 2020, YouTube removed the community contributions feature, much to the disappointment of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
More than 500,000 people have signed a petition asking Google to reverse their decision.
Benefits of Community Contributions
One of the main benefits of community contributions: your videos could be captioned in multiple languages.
Why limit your content to people who only speak your language and can hear?
Once your videos are captioned, search engines can index your content. (Search engines can’t listen or watch videos.)
Which ultimately means, you expand the audience for your content.
Many YouTube creators don’t have the money or sponsorship to afford adding captions themselves or having a third-party vendor add captions.
Community contributions filled that need; your community submits the captions at no cost to you.
There are a slew of other benefits to adding captions to your videos.
Community contributions helped video producers reach a wider audience through captions and translations, without the cost of third-party captioning services.
Now that YouTube has removed community contributions, YouTube producers will need to invest in third-party captioning for their videos.
It’s disappointing YouTube, and ultimately, Google chose to remove community contributions during Deaf Awareness Month.